Of Mice and Money

Between increasing housing costs, medical, and school loans; it’s no wonder that so many American’s are facing problems with debt. The subject of finances is nothing new and one that usually causes the most stress. (According to an article on eHow.com, marriages in America “at this time have a 50/50 success rate potential…one of two marriages potentially heading to divorce due to a money issue.” This is not good news.

Speaking of news, did you happen to see this article from CNN that talked about how 1 in 3 American’s are in debt collections? Now, I know the data collected might have all different kinds of contributing factors, but how often have you met with someone who had money problems? It’s not unheard of for me to start talking with someone and they end up mentioning something like their mounting student loans or overwhelming medical bills. It can almost make you feel that you don’t even stand a chance, which is pretty scary.

I know that companies are even now checking applicant’s credit before interviewing. Following this train of thought, you might be someone in debt trying desperately to work your way out, but you can’t even get an interview for a job because your credit isn’t great.
I know this is an unusual topic for me to blog about, but when I read the headline, something just grabbed me and I couldn’t stop myself. I really wanted not to go on any kind of rant about the state of the economy or anything like that, but I was thinking maybe I could encourage a collection of wonderful money saving ideas on this post, so if you have some ideas – PLEASE SHARE THEM BELOW.
So, here is a personal story of mine when it comes to money.  I have noticed that I never seem to have a financial emergency until after I spend a good amount of money on something else.  For example, we just recently got a new dining room table (it was needed our old one was falling apart), but the day after we made that purchase, my husband and I hear “scurrying” noises coming from above our head in our bedroom at night. (And yes, you could hear the theme music from Halloween here.) Sure enough, after calling our pest control company, it was discovered that we had mice in our attic. (Insert girly scream…three times….by me, not the hubby.)
You remember Indiana Jones and his fear of snakes?

Still of Indiana Jones Raider's of the Lost Ark (1981) from www.imdb.com

Still of Indiana Jones Raider’s of the Lost Ark (1981) from http://www.imdb.com

Yeah, imagine that multiplied by a thousand or so. (This is what I think of when I hear mice.)

Still from The Princess Bride image courtesy of www.imdb.com

Still from The Princess Bride image courtesy of http://www.imdb.com

I know it’s silly, but I just can’t seem to control it. So when our unnamed pest control person quoted us a price tag of $1500 to seal up “multiple wholes” for the “infestation”  in our attic, not even to set traps, I was this close to discussing payment plans, just to get the process started before I lost my mind. Luckily for me, my very level-headed husband, who is not afraid of mice, was like, “Uh, no,” and we got a second opinion from a good friend who not only came over and put some traps in our attic for free, but helped us look around and find that we really only have one or two places that we might need to cover to fix this problem. (God Bless our awesome friends – we have the best.)

So, aside from flesh-eating, zombie-killing mice, all is right in our world again….for now.

Going with this theme, I recently read a book called, America’s Cheapest Family, that if you ever get the chance to read, I highly recommend it! This family survives on an income of less than $40,000 a year and they are very happy. They’ve got some really great suggestions in there that I believe everyone could benefit from.

So, what about you? Have you had any mice emergencies lately? What are some great money-saving tips that you would suggest for those out there trying to save?

Sweet Surprises

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you read this title? Are you thinking about the last time you got flowers at work? Are you thinking about the notes your mom sent in your lunch when you were a kid? Or perhpas you are remembering a moment when you were happily shocked by a stranger letting you go first in line at the grocery?

This world is a crazy place. I’ve almost given up reading the news in the morning. (The morning routine used to be get up, have coffee – most important -, turn on the news.) Sometimes while sipping my life-saving java I would scroll through my news app on my cell phone and I could feel my mood (which is already not super since I’m not a morning person) plummet after a few minutes. How in the world are you ever supposed to go from reading this (see below) to having a positive and happy attitude with the rest of your day?

Screen shot of USA Today news http://www.usatoday.com/

Screen shot of USA Today news
http://www.usatoday.com/

So, I’ve started to swap from reading the news to checking Facebook or just catching up with my reading, and I think that I’m a happier person for it. I almost with there was a site that you could go to that would only list happy news – maybe stories about a volunteer in your community, a funny clip about the neighbor’s dog, or even a goofy riddle that makes you laugh out loud.

Look, my Reece's is smiling at me - right before I ate him!

Look, my Reece’s is smiling at me – right before I ate him!

In fact, this thought has led to an idea for a new book that I’m considering. It would be nonfiction, so something a little different than what I have been writing lately, but the idea has been circling; enough so that I’ve had little else to think about creatively.

What about you? What’s your morning routine? Would you like to see something in the news that wasn’t so sad? Have you had any sweet surprises in your life lately that you wouldn’t mind sharing?